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Sports Writer Hits an ID Homerun

Discovery’s resident sports fanatic Marshall Sana provided these thoughts on today’s Washgington Post column by Sally Jenkins.

Kudos to Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins for her thoughtful piece on intelligent design and athletics.

Jenkins, a well-regarded Post sportswriter, starts off her August 29th column (“Just Check the ID”) saying:

“the sports section would not seem to be a place to discuss intelligent design, the notion that nature shows signs of an intrinsic intelligence too highly organized to be solely the product of evolution.”

Perhaps not, but her definition of ID is pretty good, and her analysis of it is much better than the reporting and editorializing one usually sees. Not the least from her editorial colleagues at the Post, who’ve shown repeated difficulty in accurately describing ID, and issues related to it. (The notable exception at the Post has been the reporting of Michael Powell, namely here and here.)

For example, Jenkins writes:

“First, let’s get rid of the idea that ID (intelligent design) is a form of sly creationism. It isn’t. ID is unfairly confused with the movement to teach creationism in public schools. The most serious ID proponents are complexity theorists, legitimate scientists among them, who believe that strict Darwinism and especially neo-Darwinism (the notion that all of our qualities are the product of random mutation) is inadequate to explain the high level of organization at work in the world.”

And later:

“. . the more important for the layman to distinguish the various gradations between evolutionists, serious scientists who are interested in ID, “neo-Creos,” and Biblical literalists. One of the things we learn in a grade school science class is a concrete way of thinking, a sound, systematic way of exploring the natural world. .. But science class also teaches us how crucial it is to maintain adventurousness, and surely it’s worthwhile to suggest that an athlete in motion conveys an inkling of something marvelous in nature that perhaps isn’t explained by mere molecules.”

A home run? Almost. The article includes one dubious assertion:

“And try telling a baseball fan that pure Darwinism explains Joe DiMaggio. As Tommy Lasorda once said, “If you said to God, ‘Create someone who was what a baseball player should be,’ God would have created Joe DiMaggio — and he did.”

A 56 game hitting streak is very impressive. Joe D. was surely one of the greats, but not the best. Whatever he lacked off the field, Ted Williams was almost perfect between the lines. He was the best baseball player of all.

And that is a scientific argument, based on the numbers. (Sorry, Sally, this Red Sox fan had to get that in.)

— Marshall J. Sana

Marshall we’re happy to indulge your Red Sox fanaticism once in a while. If you want to bloviate about them all the time quit teasing us and just launch that sports and politics blog already.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.



__editedWashington Post